Pixar returns to superhero genre after first success

JEFFREY PAINE
Staff Writer

Both the last and first time Pixar delved into the superhero genre, they came out with “The Incredibles,” a fantastic movie blending suburbia and Superman. Their newest take on the genre is “Big Hero 6,” and while “The Incredibles” drew its inspiration from western comics like Superman and Captain America, “Big Hero 6” feels more inspired by shows like Power Rangers and the superhero shows of Japan.

Regardless of its source of inspiration, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed, visually stunning experience for everyone.

The movie is set in the futuristic city of San Fransyoko and stars robotic prodigy Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) and his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney).

While Hiro is the main focus of the film, the spotlight is definitely stolen by the robot Tadashi invents: the chubby, childlike Baymax (Scott Adsit). When a mysterious criminal in a kabuki mask begins terrorizing the city, Hiro upgrades Baymax into a flying, fighting superhero and recruits four of his friends to save the city. While the plot is mostly predictable and the big twist is not surprising, the movie is never dull and retains the classic Disney/Pixar mix of action, comedy and heartwarming scenes all the way through.

Pixar’s history of quality animation is apparent in “Big Hero 6,” the film is absolutely gorgeous. Baymax is an inflatable robot that looks like the smaller, friendlier brother of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man, and the bouncy, careful way he moves is funny and a little adorable at the same time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the main villain, Yokai, who fights using a swarm of tiny robots that can shape themselves into any form. Seeing the horde of tiny bots in motion is half amazing, half terrifying; a particularly cool use of the robots is seeing Yokai ride them like a wave, standing still while millions of tiny robots carry him around. But most impressive of the animation is the city of San Fransyoko itself. As the name suggests, the city is a fusion of San Francisco and Tokyo, and takes design cues from both. The cable cars and tight-packed streets are all San Fran, but the pagodas and cherry blossoms are definitely Japan. The best example of this culture mix is the Golden Gate Bridge; instead of simple iron girders, the arches are topped with Japanese “tori.” No matter where in the city the movie takes viewers, it’s always a treat to look at.
In traditional Pixar fashion, “Big Hero 6” is preceded by a short film, titled “Feast.” “Feast” is an adorable short about a dog and his owner, and is just as well-animated and touching as the main movie.

If you liked “The Incredibles” and just cannot wait for the upcoming sequel, then “Big Hero 6” will definitely scratch that superhero itch for you. It’s classic Pixar and it’s the quality Pixar is known for. “Big Hero 6” is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Nov.13, 2014

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